[The Epoch Times, November 14, 2023](Reported by Epoch Times reporter Xu Jian) After Hiroshi Nishiyama, a well-connected Japanese executive who is proficient in Chinese, was sentenced to 12 years in prison by the Chinese Communist Party, the Japanese government, opposition and business circles were shocked. U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said this has made Japanese companies think twice about investing in China.
In March this year, the CCP detained Nishiyama Hiroshi on suspicion of espionage and formally arrested him last month. Nishiyama Hiroshi was sentenced to 12 years in prison, and the verdict was upheld in the final instance.
On the morning of November 13, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hiroshi said that the Japanese government would do its utmost to rescue Nishiyama Hiroshi. Matsuno also said that he would continue to urge China to improve the transparency of judicial procedures.
Reuters quoted some Tokyo officials as saying that Nishiyama Hiroshi’s arrest had a considerable chilling effect on businesses, causing Japanese investment in China to fall to at least the lowest level since 2014 and accelerating the return of Japanese people.
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said in an interview with Reuters that the case had a huge impact, “I know Japanese companies are reconsidering.” “Right now, you can’t make (Japanese) companies Sending people to work for Chinese companies because they fear for their safety.”
The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that five Japanese citizens are currently detained in China, and a total of 17 (Japanese) people have been detained since 2015 (the year after the Chinese Communist Party’s Counterespionage Law came into effect).
Nishiyama Hiroshi’s sentencing is symbolic
Nishiyama Hiroshi’s arrest touched a nerve in Japanese society because it coincided with the CCP’s massive national security crackdown, and Nishiyama Hiroshi himself is relatively well-known—he speaks fluent Chinese and is a former board member of the Japan Chamber of Commerce in China. In recent years he has attended many high-profile events with officials from both countries.
Two people who know him, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Hiroshi Nishiyama often talks about his ties to Chinese officialdom.
Five Japanese government officials said Nishiyama’s arrest was symbolic because of his status. Questions from business people asking whether it is safe to travel to China have increased dramatically since his detention, while some Japanese companies in China have been telling employees to keep a low profile and not “try too hard” in sales and other activities.
“People are worried that they might be suddenly arrested when they go to China,” Takeshi Niinami, president of the Japan Business Executives Association, told a news conference last month.
Japan accelerates divestment from China
The Ministry of Economy of Japan stated that in the first nine months of this year, although Japan’s total “net foreign direct investment” (FDI) to the world increased by nearly one-fifth, Japan’s FDI to mainland China fell by 30.6% year-on-year to 393.4 billion yen. ($2.6 billion), the lowest amount dating back to at least the beginning of the data series in 2014.
A recent survey of Japanese companies doing business in China showed that half of the respondents said they would cut investment this year. The first poll released by the Japan Chamber of Commerce in China last month showed that only 10% of 8,300 Japanese companies said they would increase investment. Reasons given by respondents included sluggish demand, cross-border regulations and “concerns about investment risks in China.”
The number of Japanese living in China has continued to decline over the past 10 years, totaling 102,066.
(This article refers to reports from Reuters)
Editor in charge: Li Tongde#